At the two-day S60 Summit in Barcelona, Samsung and Nokia formally announced the Samsung L870 smartphone, a new S60-based device with a 2.4-inch QVGA display, a video-capable three megapixel camera, integrated FM receiver, EDGE/GPRS and HSDPA connectivity, and 50 MB of user memory with microSD expansion. But what sent eyebrows rising was not that the S60 ecosystem just bagged its 79th device—it’s that the L870 will apparently sport Apple’s Mobile Safari Web browser, apparently as the result of an as-yet-unconfirmed agreement with Apple.
"We are happy to compliment our product portfolio with yet another appealing S60 mobile, Samsung L870 that is fully customized with style, performance, and user interface," said Samsung’s VP of mobile communication Jongin Kim, in a statement. "With S60, we can successfully deliver the latest mobile technology with fully customizable applications and intuitive user interfaces."
Samsung had previously announced the L870 in The Netherlands in April; the phone is currently expected to be available in European markets this month, but the company has offered no information on if—or when—the device might reach North America.
By way of a 2005 agreement, the default Web browser in the S60 platform is based on WebKit, which is the same underpinning for Apple’s desktop and mobile versions of Safari. It’s possible the revelation the L870 includes Safari is a marketing or PR gaffe that confuses WebKit with the Mobile Safari application—but it could also indicate a willingness on Apple’s part to license mobile applications. And after all, the company also develops Safari for WIndows—wouldn’t it be ironic if, for instance, a mobile version of Safari were to appear for Windows Mobile devices?
[Update 29-May-2008: Samsung has confirmed the Web browser in the L870 is the default S60 browser based on WebKit, not Apple’s Safari application, although Samsung is still apparently referring to the application as the “S60 Safari browser,” perpetuating the confusion.]